Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Nettle drying, digging and salad

Thought I would give an update on some of the gardening work that is getting done. Because we don't have access to the main site yet, we are using various back gardens for the Project's growing space right now. I'll have a go at describing the kinds of things we're doing using the 'Independence Days' challenge headings from Sharon Astyk's excellent book of the same name.

Plant something: Potatoes. Each row with a wheelbarrow full of compost, since I haven't got round to getting blood/bone meal. Four 'Orla' (first early) and 1 'Mayan Twilight' (early), and four 'British Queen' (second early).

Harvest something: There are nettle roots underneath one of the onion plots so I tiptoe round the edge and pull the nettle tops. I am drying them in an electric dehydrator for use in tea or soup. I tend to pull what I can of the nettle roots but I don't worry about it too much. There is plenty of compost to feed the onions, and the nettle roots will likely weaken eventually as I keep harvesting their leaves.

Preserve something: the nettle tips, using the electric dehydrator. The weather is good enough to dehydrate using the sun today - must take time out one day to construct a solar dehydrator. Maybe on the garage roof?

Prep something: Not so much, today, unless clearing the top of the dehrydrator so I could use it counts.

Cook something: salad! Felt pleased with myself for managing a really seasonal recipe for lunch. Grated carrots, cress (grown by 2yo with a bit of help from Grandad), sprouted fenugreek and fennel seeds, pumpkin seeds and boiled egg.

Manage your reserves: Not so much. The carrots and pumpkin seeds in lunch were both 'bought from shop', since ours ran out a while back.

Work on local food systems: Here I am telling you all about some food-related stuff. Also, did some digging of new ground with Emmanuel yesterday. He brought over a brilliant tool called an African Hoe. It makes short work of digging. It's on a long pole like a broom, and you swing it high up if you want to dig with it. It's so fast - I am sure Emmanuel cleared a square metre of ground in about a minute, which would have taken me half an hour using a spade. Even our heavy clay soil gets broken up fast. Great discovery.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting use of the nettle leaves, I dump them in our standing water butt to rot down as weak tea.

    Your raspberry canes are sprouting nicely here!

    Thanks for the link to the Independence Day blog too - plan on having a browse through later.

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